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Chicken coop with run tour: Moving the girls into their new home

We moved the girls and Mr. Basil into our Horizon Structures chicken coop a few weeks ago and so far, they are loving life out there.

Due to our crummy weather this spring, we weren’t able to move them out until they were about 8 weeks old. Or at least, I’m blaming the weather. Maybe we could have moved them out earlier – they were fully feathered – but this chicken mama didn’t like it when temperatures were projected to go below 0 overnight in the early weeks of May.

I don’t fully have everything set up the way I want it yet, but we are getting closer each day. I thought I would give you a snap shot of their lives out there, the coop and the new run.

Chicken coop with run tour



The coop

As previously mentioned, we purchased out chicken coop from Horizon Structures and we couldn’t be happier with the decision. There’s a full tour of all the bells and whistles here but I’m excited to show you how it looks now that we have the chickens living in it full time.

On the outside we went with a white, black and grey theme. It matches all the other building on our property, and I love that we were able to customize it down to the details such as door and window trim.

Horizon Structures gives you so many options that you’re bound to find one you love. You can pick out the colors and features that will fit your farm, homestead or suburban backyard.

(Yes! They do make smaller coops that you can have in a neighborhood should the city and association allow it. You can check out some options here.)

While I know looks may not be important to everyone, you should know this coop functions like a dream too. As a first-time chicken owner, I knew our coop had to do one thing for me; make life as a chicken mama easier and less gross.

Chicken coop with run tour

Structural features

The windows and the vent allow for airflow on even the stuffiest of days – although, admittedly, Michigan hasn’t had many of those yet. The air inside has never been stale or overly smelly.

The chicken door is the perfect size and the man door is large enough that I can fit a wheelbarrow though it if needs be.

The locks on the chicken and the man door are nice and stiff so even if they’re unlocked, I doubt a predator could finagle them.

On the outside I added some lights, some locks for the nesting boxes and the run. Other than that, the coop came ready to go the second they took it off the truck.




Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

Inside the coop

My chickens and I are both loving the inside of the coop. Horizon Structures was kind enough to split the coop into two sections for me. About 2/3 of the coop is dedicated to the chickens’ home. Another 1/3 of the coop is dedicated to storing all the other things they need or might need – including their food.

Chicken coop with run tour

On my side, I fit two, steel garbage cans side-by-side for food storage. These cans are rodent proof. Or at least, I’ve never heard of a rodent chewing through steel. I store a large bag of feed in each, treats, the shovel for the food and a large funnel that I use to add the feed to the DIY PVC feeders that I made.

I also store a bucket that I use for cleaning their poop and transporting it to the composter. Probiotics, electrolytes, a small medical kit and other random items round out my side of the coop.

The chicken side

On the chicken side of the coop, I cannot say enough good things about the roost bars and the poop trays. This is truly a brilliant idea from Horizon Structures. This combo has made my life easier and less smelly.

Chicken coop with run tour



Basically, under the roost bars there are two, pull out trays. Since the birds potty so much at night, a lot of their poop ends up in these trays. I’ve added sand and PDZ to them and then use a kitty litter scoop to scoop it right on out.

Since my girls like to cluster in one place at night, the bulk of their poop ends up in the left tray. However, they do like to take a little siesta every afternoon and I noticed they like to do that on the right side.

Chicken coop with run tour Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

As far as the nest boxes go, my girls are a bit too young to take full advantage of them still. However, they should start laying sometime next month and I think they will appreciate how spacious each box is.

As a side note, you may notice I decided to use construction sand in my coop. I did this for a variety of reasons, most notably cleanliness and smell. This is for the warmer months only. In the winter I’ll use the deep litter method. I’ll fully explain all of this in another post.

The coop run

The contractor team that’s working on our barn renovation built our chicken run for us. I gave them a sketch of a design I wanted and they built it according to the sketch.

It is attached to the coop now and is fully covered. A portion of it uses recycled roofing from our barn while the largest section just has wire over the top to prevent predators from getting inside.

Chicken coop with run tour Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

Inside the run is a place for water, their food pipes and a roosting area Kevin and his dad built with a tree we had to take down.

My goal here is to reuse any materials we can as often as we can. While I’m a girl that likes new, I also want to make sure that I’m being conscious of the environment and what will work within the ecosystem well. That said, there will be additional roosts and stumps added as we take down additional dead or problem trees.

Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour



Also, for the run, we buried hardwire a foot down under the ground to keep any predators from digging their way into the run. While the coop is really secure (with hard wire on all the openings), I knew the run could potentially be a problem if we didn’t bury wire.

If I had thought about it, or enough knowledge to understand what I actually needed, I probably would have ordered a large run from Horizon Structures to match the coop. I’ll have to add that to the list for next year. 🙂

Things left to do

With most of the big things now in place, I’ve started to think about the small things. I’m busy planting a chicken garden around the coop that will be filled with lots of flowers and herbs that are good for the chickens and are said to keep pesky bugs away.

Some of these items include:

  • Lemongrass
  • Marigolds
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

I may also add some small boxwoods for year-round color.

I’m planning to add a small, flagstone patio outside the run door too. That area became really muddy when we built the run and because it gets so much foot traffic, it’s still really muddy. Ideally, I’d like it to be large enough that I could fit a small table and chairs there so I can watch the girls while they free-range.

Lastly, I have a small sandbox coming on Tuesday that I’ll be filling up with peat moss, sand, dirt, DE and wood ash to make them a nice dust bath.

Happy chickens

Since moving the girls and Basil outside they really flourished. They’re growing well, the pecking order has been defined in a way that’s not been overly aggressive and they seem to be happy with their new digs.

I’ve been letting them free-range a bit each day now too and they’re pretty much obsessed with their time on the farm. Once the construction is completed on the barn, the girls will be full grown, and I’ll feel better letting them free-range for longer periods throughout the day.

Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

Overall though, my spoiled chickens seem pretty happy in their new digs and I feel so lucky to have them as a part of our lives. It’s truly been a joy to be able to have this whole experience with them. It’s certainly been, and will continue to be, a learning experience. However, I’m pretty positive all the best lessons in life can be learned from animals.

For more on our chickens, click here. For more farmhouse experiences, click here.

 

Chicken coop with run tour
Chicken coop with run tour

Chicken coop with run tour

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31 Comments

  1. Melissa Chapman

    This was a great primer on raisng chickens and buying the right coop. My dream is to live on a farm and raise animals including chickens for the eggs.

  2. Stacie

    That is the nicest chicken coop I’ve ever seen! You guys really went all out for it. I love it.

  3. Lori Geurin

    This is such a great-looking chicken coop! We’d love to have one on our property but our neighborhood clause doesn’t allow it. 🙁 Enjoy your farm-fresh eggs!

  4. Sarah Bailey

    Now that is one absolutely incredible looking coop for chickens! It’s almost like a chicken palace! Enjoy all the eggs you get fresh from it.

  5. What a beautiful chicken coop! The photos with your kids and the chickens are too precious. My kids love chickens too but we don’t have a flock of our own yet!

  6. linda

    it looks like the girls like their new digs!

  7. Liz Mays

    This coop sound so nice! Great work! I think those chickens are going to be super happy living there!

  8. Krista

    That is a beautiful set up. There is nothing better then farm fresh eggs. One of my favorite chores as a kid was getting to go out and collect them.

  9. Cyn Gagen

    This is great. I need to share this post with my daughter. She so wants to raise chickens but we have no idea what we’re doing. lol

  10. Ashley

    That chicken coop looks so nice. I bet your chickens are loving their new home.

  11. Beautiful and very functional, thought-through chicken Palace! I love every detail about it.

  12. Melanie

    This is the best looking coop that I have ever seen someone have! I would have chickens if I could have a great coop like this!

  13. keikilani

    This has to be the cutest chicken coop ever! I would love to have chicken some days.

  14. Kathy

    That is such a nice coop. We have chickens as well as ducks. They all use a coop together. I love what you did for the food. I’ve been thinking of doing that as well.

  15. Brianne Manz

    I don’t think I have ever seen such a beautiful chicken house. You haven’t forgotten anything when it comes to the comfort of your bird.

  16. That is really a beautiful chicken coop! So neat and spacious! I can see how happy your chickens are!

  17. Catalina

    What a beautiful home for these chickens. So elegant and spacious!

  18. Ruth I

    I am sure the kids are quite comfy in their new spot. It seems that it already has everything they need. You got much to do on your list as I can see.

  19. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    Aww this is amazing. That coop looks so beautiful and fancy. I would love to have a coop on my property.

  20. Pam

    Wow, what a beautiful chicken coop. I have never seen one as stylish as that one before.

  21. Sherry

    What an awesome chicken coop. I would love to have chickens once my husband retires from the military and we are settled into one place.

  22. Vyjay Rao

    The Chicken coop looks lovely. So spacious and neat. The kids too seem really happy with the chicken. Must be a very chirpy and cheerful atmosphere on the farm.

  23. Ash

    The chicken coop looks great!! I bet the chickens just love their new home, don’t they?

  24. rika

    Those chickens look so cute! I would love to have chickens in my backyard! I know that my kids would be really happy.

  25. Heather

    This is a great post! I’ve always wanted to raise our own chickens

  26. Claudia Krusch

    What a beautiful chicken coop! I’ve always wanted to grow chickens in my backyard! If you’re going to do it, this is the right way! Love it!

  27. Rosemary

    Happy chickens lay amazing eggs. Love how you have taken such care in creating such a wonderful coop for the chickens. I look forward to the day when I can raise my own chickens. Great tips here.

  28. Tamara

    When we move out to the country, the first thing I will be doing is getting chickens and a coop. I ADORE this coop. Thanks for sharing your experience with it.

  29. Kiwi

    This is a nice modern and mininalist design of the coop! You will have all the chicken eggs!

  30. Terri

    How fabulous! Your chickens look well cared for and definitely well loved. Such a cute space for them!!

  31. What a fun project for your family to have a neat chicken coop like that. We’re not the farming type of family but it’s interesting to learn new things like chicken coop and farming.


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